The two longstanding rivals charge similar but not identical percentages and apply them at varying price levels.
The new rates, which cover all collecting categories except wine, are as follows:
- 25% of the hammer price up to and including £175,000/US$250,000
- 20% of the hammer price from £175,001/US$250,001 up to and including £3m/US$4m
- 12.5% above £3,000,001/US$4m
The last time Christie’s amended its buyer’s premium was September 2016.
As reported in ATG last week, Sotheby’s unveiled an updated fees schedule alongside the announcement that it would no longer charge a buyer’s premium in online-only auctions.
Christie’s, however, will continue to charge the same buyer’s premium for both online-only and live auctions.
Sotheby’s new buyer’s premium level for live auctions (excluding wine sales) which applies from November 1 is:
- 25% of the hammer price up to and including £180,000/US$300,000
- 20% of the hammer price from £180,000/US$300,000 to £2m/$3m
- 12.9% above £2m/$3m
When a lot is knocked down at £1m at an auction, the buyer will now pay £208,750 in fees to Christie’s. This compares to £209,000 at Sotheby’s.
The greater difference comes when a lot sells at £5m – a buyer will now pay £858,750 to Christie’s, compared to £796,000 at Sotheby’s – something mainly due to the Christie’s 20% range now applying up to £3m, while Sotheby’s 20% range goes up to ‘only’ £2m.